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Sonic speakers? Anyone know anything about them?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by millard, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    My local used gear place has a pair of Sonic 1x15 bass reflex cabs. But all I can find out about them so far is their web site (www.sonicspeaker.com) and some pro audio site that claims they are the best kept secret in professional audio (big surprise, they sell them).

    I figure a pair of 1x15s are easier to carry than a 4x10.

    Thanks for any insight anyone can offer.

  2. slacker


    Nov 27, 2001
    Portland Oregon
    The cabinets are hand-made in Wisconsin and generally of good quality. Whether they are a good deal or not depends entirely on the drivers used.

    Over the years Sonic has used a wide range of divers, from cheap house brands to top shelf units.

    Currently, all of the speakers on their website seem to come with a house brand driver of unknown (by me at least) quality. I assume upgraded drivers are still available upon request.

    I would ask the store owner to pull a driver and identify it for you. As the speakers are used, that is the only way of knowing for sure.
  3. Exactly what slacker said!

    I've owned 2 Sonic bass cabs in the past- I was really happy with them. The first was a mid 80's 2x10+1x18 with grey carpet. It was very heavy. The second was a black carpeted 4x10- I liked that one a lot- but I traded it for two 1x15 cabs.

    The cabinets themselves are very well made. If they've got the speakers you want I wouldn't hesitate a minute- especially if the price is right.
  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I believe the Sonic "house brand" speakers are Eminence... The optional top-of-the-line speakers have been RCF mfd. in Italy (which I know nothing about).

    Eli uses a Sonic Compact 15 cabinet...it had an EVM (which I now have) and he has loaded it with a Carvin (Eminence) cast frame 15. He's gigged with it for ever (he's currently in three or four bands) and it has held up well...and sounds good too...just a 15 in a little ported cabinet.

    I have a bunch of Sonic PA cabinets and have been quite fond of them. They sound good and because of their relatively unknown status (outside the midwest) we had very, very cheaply...

    If you like the sound of 15s...you should be happy; especially if the price is right! Play up the "never heard of Sonic" when you're negotiating the price! :D

    BTW, the type of speaker in them is generally stated on the nameplate on the back...like B115/Standard would most likely be an Eminence. I didn't appreciate this until after I bought my first set of T15 PA cabinets...T15/Proline...much to my surprise they had EVM Proline 15s in them.

    Good luck!!!
  5. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    These are gray carpeted with black metal corners and seem to be of a slightly older design than current -- the speakers seem to be centered in the cab where the current ones on the web site are offset to the left. I didn't see a nameplate on the back -- just a quarter inch jack. One of them had one jack and the other had two. I might have to open them (not sure the store guy will go for that) in order to know that is inside. I'll look a little harder -- perhaps the nameplate is on the bottom?

    I play a short-scale and the 15s seem to bring out a little more bottom end (my current amp is a GK 115). Of course, I have not played through an 8x10 yet...

    The speakers are on the floor for $150 each. I could probably get out the door with the pair for well under $250. I got a sweet deal on a Tech 21 Trademark 60 a while back because folks are too busy looking at the Marshalls and Fenders.

    Thanks all for your help.

  6. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Back in the early, early 90s, I had a Sonic 215 that had EVM Proline 15s in it. It smoked! The band I was with at the time also had a few Sonic PA cabs that held up very well (don't remember exactly what they were). Even though hard times forced me to sell the 215, I have since picked up a couple of the Proline 15s along the way. Can't wait to load them someday and hear how they sound. (They are boxed in the garage right now.)

    Anyway, good stuff, IMHO. But I agree that you need to crack them open to see just exactly what it is that you are buying. You have a right to know. And really, how hard is it to take off the backplate and peer inside with a flashlight? Let the store owner know that he could have a sale on his hands if he does.

    Good luck! :D
  7. I have a Sonic Micromini 18 cab, circa 1993, which is a discontinued model. I think they also used to make Micromini 15's.

    I had a EVM-18B that needed a cabinet, so I went with something small and unloaded. Nothing out of the ordinary, very simple cabinet. Probably goes down into the upper 50 Hz area, and can move a lot of air when driven hard. Gray carpet, metal corners, 2 1/4" jacks. I think it was about $140 unloaded.

    It is an unusual size, so it hasn't stacked well with other cabinets, but I have used it as an extension cab for my combo amps- it works well for that. Haven't played it a whole lot, actually- may consider selling it.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Sonic sold their cabs unloaded for a number of years prior to selling them loaded. In the 1980s many Boston area bassists would buy them and then load the driver of their choice, I still see a lot of them in use around town (one club still uses some as part of their installed PA).

    So what REALLY matters is what speakers are in the box now...JBL? EVM? Radio Shack?

    With good speakers, $150 each is a good price and $250 for the pair would be a very good deal. With crap speakers in there it's much less of a deal.

    I'd say try them out and if they sound OK, pull the speakers out and see what they are before laying down the greenbacks.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    RCF makes very good speakers, Eastern Acoustic Works has used them for years and EAW is serious pro audio gear. Both RCF and EAW are now owned by Mackie. Some of the drivers in the Mackie cabs are RCF.
  10. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    I went at lunch and had a closer look:

    No nameplate on rear or anywhere else, so no speaker data. Pulled the grills off the front and no data in there either. The speakers were seated with half the number of screws they should have, so these are probably speakers put into an empty cab or replacement speakers. I didn't have the time to actually pull the speaker.

    I'm going to leave them alone until I get my rack together and my bass gets back from the shop. Then I'll actually try them and see what happens. Of course, if I go to that much trouble, I'll have to plug into the Trace Elliot 1018...

    Thanks, folks...Millard
  11. For a long time Sonic did a great job of putting a lot of cabinets out there. I remember seeing ads in Guitar World.

    The question is- was anyone in the Midwest in a band that did NOT have at least one Sonic cab?

    BTW- from what I understand, the guy that runs Sonic is a guy who REALLY loves amps and gear. He did a tolex job for a friend's early 60's Fender Concert amp that was incredible.
  12. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Not to hijack the thread...but the 1x15 or 2x15 that I'd most like to come across is a ProCo. Yes, ProCo made amazing bass cabinets before the cable and Rat business took off.

    IIRC full 1 in. particle board, heavy as lead, but man did they sound great. I've tried to sweet talk ProCo out of the plans but they won't bite.

    Back to Sonic...
  13. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Ive had a sonic 410 for about 8 years now and Ive always played a 5 string. It has served me very well. I think I got it for about $230-$260 brand new.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    Almost every 70/80s raw cab I have ever seen (ProCo, Sonic, Joe's, Dr. Fong) was very similar, maybe identical, in design to the free cabinet plans EV published back then. I think the number was TL-606. Even the Mesa 1-15 cabs appeared to be based on this design.

    I know a number of folks who rolled their own from those plans (I had a 1-12" TL cab for many years).
  15. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Thanks Brian,

    The ProCo cabinet were similar to TL-606s, but larger IIRC. Charlie(?) at ProCo said that they developed their own design.

    I presently use a pair of homebuilt TL606s (EVM 15B) and have one and soon to be two TL-806s with EVM 12Ls in them. Biamped with my Hartke HA-5000 the TL-606 low/TL-806 high sounds really, really good.
  16. Brian! Start a separate Dr. Fong thread! Let's see who all owned one of THOSE (I did!)

    * * * *

    I used to want the Sonic 6x10 two tweet cabinet- which they still make- and Bass Northwest actually had one on consignment most of 2004.

    I also liked the old B115T with the 15 centered. Essentially the same as the Avatar B115T. Then they changed it to the offset, lower profile current model.